Archive for category Miscellenious

Long time, no updates…

It’s been quite a while since I made an update here.
The fact is that everyday things and work has kept me more than busy for the last couple of months.
And the trip to Japan took a lot of energy away from me.
I going to make a more interesting update in a couple of weeks with an actual status update of the build.

But for now I just want to sum up the trip to Japan with the finally published articles in the magazine that helped me with press accreditation to NISMO Festival.
(The articles are written by my self and by my travel companions)
All articles are written in Swedish and I doubt that Google Translate will do a good job of translating them to English, but I will provide the links to the translated articles anyway.

Article #1: My trip to Japan and the hunt for some GT500 wheels:
Google Translated -> Link
Swedish, original article -> Link
Picture gallery -> Link

Article #2: NISMO Festival 2009:
Google Translated -> Link
Swedish, original article -> Link
Picture gallery -> Link

Article #3: Nissan Global Headquarters Gallery:
Google Translated -> Link
Swedish, original article -> Link
Picture gallery -> Link

Article #4: Toyota Mega Web:
Google Translated -> Link
Swedish, original articl -> Link
Picture gallery -> Link

Hope you enjoy the articles/pictures and stay tuned for a more status update focused blog entry in the next couple of weeks.

Some state of shock

I’m still in some state of shock, haven’t been able to comprehend everything that happened last couple of days. ..

On Saturday we went to Fuji Speedway to check the out the venue and to locate the NISMO Garage Sale tent. It took us a while to find Fuji Speedway since all the signs (except the first one) was in Japanese, but after driving around in circles for a while we eventually found it. Fuji Speedway lies beautifully on the base of Mt. Fuji and thereby surely has one of the world’s best surroundings when it comes to race tracks. The arena of Fuji Speedway is very large and as it was my first visit there with only Swedish tracks as reference I was amazed by the high standard, the amazing surroundings and the monstrosity of the Fuji Speedway arena. I quickly located the Garage Sale tent which was located exactly where my research told me it would be, which made me more confident in the game plan I made.

Went up at 4 am on Sunday morning to get to Fuji Speedway before they opened the gates at 5 AM. Got there about 4:45 AM and there was already a huge line to get in!? Fortunately, with the media access sorted, we got pass the lines. Dropped the car at our designated parking lot and ran to the Garage Sale tent just to see another big line to the tent. There was at least 50-60 people in front of me when I enter the line; Considering this was more than two hours before the Garage Sale was scheduled to open and that the gates shouldn’t even be open yet puzzled me. How the did they get there before me? The people at the very front was prepared with sleeping bags and chairs and many where holding places for other people joining in much later. They must have open the gates way earlier than 5 AM, but the information we got was that the gates would open exactly 5 AM. (And with Japanese being very accurate and strict, we didn’t expect anything else.)

So, there I stood getting more and more anxious until they opened the Garage Sale at 7 AM (two hours before the actual event started). As soon as they took down the sides of the tent I was presented with an extremely disappointing view; There was only 9 (!) wheels for sale! I waited for 15 minutes or so to get in the Garage Sale tent and immediately addressed the issue by involving every NISMO staff I could find that spoke some English. Unfortunately for me this was all the wheels they had for sale, and by the time I got in 3 wheels were already sold. Left were 2 bashed up wheels (beyond rescuing), 3 wheels in 17″ and only 1 in the right dimensions (18×13″) and in a decent condition. Not to mention that the price had gone up from 5 000 – 10 000 YEN per wheel last year to  20 000 YEN, even for the totally bashed up ones.

To give you some perspective; These wheels can not be bought any where else or in any other way than at the Garage Sale @ NISMO Festival. (Well… if you sign up a new team for SuperGT and purchase a Nissan GT-R GT500 race car from NISMO you can then buy some spare/extra wheels, but that is basically the only other option you have if you want to purchase these wheels.)

Now, imagine my disappointment…

Month of research, lots of hours and money invested in this trip. Got everything right, had a very good game plan but fell short on the finish line on a variable that I couldn’t influence; The nr. of wheels up for sale.

Well, I didn’t just lay down and die (though it took me a while to get back on my feet), I was at the NISMO Festival, surely there must be some people from NISMO or RAYS (manufacture of the wheels, subcontracted by NISMO) here that could help me? I got a good contact with NISMO personal from the media desk that did all they could to help me (they where very impressed with my build project). Unfortunately it finally ended up with an official response that they couldn’t get me any center lock race wheels, no matter what I was willing to pay. A similar scenario took place with the people from RAYS (who also had a couple of complete sets of NISMO race wheels in their tent that I weren’t aloud to purchase…)

It took me a while to get my head around to write this update due to the huge disappointment I felt and the fact that I was in some state of shock after the NISMO Festival.

So what will I do now?

Not much to do about the wheels. It’s not urgent to get some wheels for the build progress. I got lured by the temptation of having some genuine NISMO race wheels on this build and to get them really cheap. I did all I could, went half way around the world with a very researched game plan but was knocked down by reality. The build will continue and I’ll continue my focus on the body. Bo Zolland of Vizualtech is done with his work and the 3D-model will now be converted to CAD with the process continuing from there. The wheels will have to wait, maybe another opportunity arises further down the road?

The trip to Japan isn’t over yet, I’m now in Tokyo and plan to visit both Nissan’s Showroom in Ginza as well as the NISMO Omori Factory (where I plan to investigate wheel purchasing again) for some more healthy “Nissan-injections”. ;)

I’ll make a post-trip update on the entire trip with more stories from the NISMO Festival (which, except for the disappointment with the wheels, was amazing!) and give you an update on the build progress.

Land of the Rising Sun

I’ve now spent my first “night” (jet-lag, woke up 3 am local time) in the Land of the Rising Sun, Japan.

Arrived here yesterday a couple of hours late due to the illegal walk out by ground personal from Finair that pretty much shut down the luggage handling at Helsinki Airport (and caused delays and canceled flights). To avoid loosing my baggage I decided to only bring the absolutely necessary and not check in any baggage at all. It took a lot of detailed packing to be able to fit all cameras, PC, and the necessary clothes in a very small suitcase.

With no sleep for at least 20+ hours it was both fun and a bit scary to get in the rental car and drive for 3+ hours on the “wrong” side of the road from Tokyo Narita Airport to Gotenba. It surprised me how fast you could adapt to driving a car with the steering wheel on the “wrong” side and driving on the “wrong” side of the road, even though I was very tired. Had some fun moments with the GPS that only presented information in Japanesee, driving trough Tokyo in the middle of rush hour, but eventually made it to Gotenba.

Gotenba lies pretty close to Mt. Fuji which made for a beautiful scenery driving in yesterday.

Tomorrow is the big day; NISMO Festival 2009 @ Fuji Speedway. Where I’ll be trying to get my hands on some genuine NISMO race wheels for this build! I’ll post an update tomorrow to inform you all on the progress with the wheels and some more info on the NISMO Festival, stay tuned! :)

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Revised plans

As stated on the homepage: “Until the build is done, all specifications are subject to change.”

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted an update on the current status of the build, but there are various good reasons for that. I’ve made some progress in the garage with the body sculpting, but all that progress is now irrelevant. I’ll explain why later on in this update.

For the last couple of months this project has received a lot of attention throughout the Internet and it’s both great fun and a bit scary to see both national and international attention. You see, I’m doing this build for my self, but somehow I still feel some pressure with the high expectations that go hand-in-hand with the attention.
And with the spread of this website I’ve been contacted with a lot of questions, tips and ideas from people all over the world. Some of the tips and ideas has been extremely interesting and I decided to pursue them further, more on this later.

I’ve also seen and received a lot of doubt, disbelief and skepticism on my personal skills and the project it self. Most of them are very valid (whereas a small portion just seem to be based on jealousy?) and I therefor would like to clarify somethings:

  • I haven’t done any major car build before, this is my first major build of a car from scratch.
  • I’ve only done some modifications, upgrades and services on my and others cars in the past.
  • I don’t possess the necessary knowledge nor do I have the resources my self to complete a build like this all by my self.
  • I do however possess passion, enthusiasm (+ some IQ) and the will to complete my dream build.
  • And to clarify the time frame for this build; There is none. I have hopes on 2012, but that may be very unrealistic. The major obstacle for a short time frame is the economy part. The budget for this build is based on my private income, basically whatever I can spare from my salary after taxes/rent/food and all other necessary living-costs are made.

So to sum up, I’ve have no particular skills or knowledge valid to a build like this and the budget will take a lot of hard work and a lot of time to create.
I’m doing this project to pursue a dream of mine and to learn. To learn a lot more of the topics and subjects that really interest me when it comes to cars.

Revised plans

Okay, enough of the testimonial stuff, on to the revised plans; What’s going on?

The body is still in high priority, but I’m also trying hard to plan as much far ahead as I can with all the other elements of the build.

1. Body sculpting

I’ve pretty much canceled the manual body sculpting (body plug), at least if all revised plans become reality.
Why? Well, I’ve received a lot of tips of Scandinavian based companies that do molds and/or plugs with CNC-machines (based on 3D CAD-models), ready for carbon fiber or any other composite material casting. This was actually an idea I had from the begging, to continue with the 3D-model and letting a company create the body molds or plugs directly from that model. However I discarded the idea before looking into the different options, I simply thought that the costs would be enormous.
The cost is substantial, but not nearly as bad as I thought. All things considered it’s actually is quite affordable.
So yes, I’ve probably spent a lot more “learning money” by cutting a car down in pieces and not even using it as a plug for the final body. But I’m still learning, hence the term “learning money”.
The cut down body is probably for sale if anybody is interested in doing a similar build, of course for very reasonable price. ;)

2. CAD and molds

Step two in my revised planes is to get the 3D-model converted to CAD and adjusting/fine tuning the 3D CAD-model in preparation for the full scale mold making with CNC-machines. The companies that to this type of work mostly do plugs and molds for the boat industry, and they therefor have really large NC-machines for this purpose.
They make the plugs/molds out of a base of wood and plywood to give it some rigidity and basic structure, then glue a large block of Styrofoam from which the first machining is done with an offset of about -8mm. Then they apply a special paste that hardens and do the final machining, often with an accuracy of 0.3mm.

3. CFD and/or scale model wind tunnel testing

So with the CAD-model done, I’ve got plans to either produce a scale model for some wind tunnel testing at a Swedish University and/or doing some CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) on the CAD-model it self.
I’ve got some interesting contacts with a couple of companies doing CFD work and I’ll go with either CFD and/or scale model wind tunnel testing depending on the costs.
I’m going to continue these dialogs with both domestic and international companies when I get further down the road with the CAD-modeling. To see which way I’ll go, or if I can afford to do both.
To goal here is to try to get data and make necessary adjusting to the CAD-model for the aerodynamics of the car. Both for downforce and drag as well as for cooling.
This will be done before the plugs/molds are made (so before step 2 is complete) so that the final CAD-model and the finished carbon fiber body will have more then just guessed aerodynamics and airflow.

4. Carbon fiber body

I’ve been in contact with a lot of different companies that do composite work with carbon fiber. And I will probably go with the choice of having negative molds created from the CAD-model instead of the procedure of machining a plug → creating molds → casting the body. If I go with the choice of creating negative molds ready for casting I’ll save some time and more importantly money.

5. New wheels and the Nismo Festival 2009

My initial plans was to buy a set of BBS race-3-split-center-lock wheels which is very expensive. But I was set on those wheels and I would have raised the necessary funds to be able to buy them.
But I got a tip on a way to get a hold of some genuine Nismo (Rays) race monoblock center lock wheels, which is virtually impossible to get unless you purchase a GT300/GT500 SuperGT car from Nismo.
The tip I got was that there is a garage sale at the annual Nismo Festival held @ Fuji Speedway in Gotenba/Mt. Fuji, Japan.
At this garage sale Nismo sell the current and past years race gears that no longer hold 100% quality. Like a lot of wheels! And they sell these parts quite cheep. So with this tip I got excited and did a lot (I mean a lot…) of research on the Nismo Festival it self (since I never before heard about it) and the garage sale @ Nismo Festival 2009. My conclusion was that if I managed to get a hold on a set of wheels, I would get the trip to Japan, the experience, the visit to Nismo Festival, refurbishing of the wheels and still “save money” compared to purchasing a set of BBS wheels.

To make a long story a bit shorter; I managed to hook up with a Swedish magazine (actually two) to write an article about my visit to the Nismo Festival and my experience on trying to get a hold on some wheels for my build. In return for writing the article I will receive enough proof to be able apply for press accreditation to the event. (Which isn’t any guaranty to receive press accreditation, just backup information that I’m a valid freelance journalist for this occasion).
Flights and hotels are booked and the shipping of the wheels from Tokyo to Stockholm is more or less taken care of, the shipping from Fuji Speedway to the port in Tokyo isn’t done yet – but I’ll find a way!
So if everything works as planned, I’ll be going to Japan on the 3rd of December for a 3 nights stay in Gotenba/Fuji Speedway to visit the Nismo Festival and a couple of more nights in Tokyo on vacation.
Hopefully I’ll get a hold on the wheels I’ve set my eyes on and this build will have some vary rare genuine Nismo (Rays) race wheels. And I’ll write an article of the whole Nismo Festival experience. :)
However, I’m going to the festival with the understanding that I could come home empty handed. That the only thing I’ll bring home is a nice experience and some memories from a trip to Japan. But of course my goal is to get a set wheels with me home and believe me when I say I’ve done a lot of work trying to make this goal a reality!

If you haven’t hear about the Nismo Festival before, I recommend you to read the articles on GTRblog.com on last years event.

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So to sum up the revised plans:
The 3D model is now in the hands of Bo Zolland @ Vizualtech again for some adjusting and fine tuning before converting it to CAD. Then the CAD-model will be prepared for CFD and for the making of molds. And finally the body will be casted in carbon fiber from the CNC-made molds.

I’ve been in contact with a lot of different companies for assistance with the CAD-modeling, CFD, mold-making and the carbon fiber casting. I’ve spent countless hours in e-mail conversations, on the phone and in both physical and web-based meetings with the different companies. Some small, some big and some I can’t even mention due to NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreements). Both national and international companies.
It’s fair to say that it has been very time consuming, so much in fact that it has starting to affect my work. And that’s no good, thats the source for the budget to this project. ;)
(Not to mention all the time spent researching everything regarding the Nismo Festival visit.)
If you have a tip on the subjects mentioned, or contact information for companies doing the work I need help with, please don’t hesitate to contact me. Any help is greatly appreciated!

So that’s it for this “update”. No pictures to show, no “real” progress. But believe me, I’m working hard to make this project happen, to make my dream come true.
To all of you following this build and sending me feedback of all sorts: Thank you! To be able to receive any type of feedback is the main reason for creating this website and the build/project-threads on different communities. So please, keep sending me feedback. :)

The site, www.gt500.se

The site is now up and (hopefully) running. Follow this blog for the latest news!

As you might notice, I’m not much of a designer…
And I haven’t done much checking of browser compatibility, but I know for sure that it won’t look or work good in IE 6.
It works well in FireFox 3/IE 7 and hopefully you can at least read the text in the blog with the browser of your choice. :)

Don’t miss the initial information posted on the other pages on the site.

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